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Animal rights groups are ramping up pressure on countries to shut down their wet markets as the coronavirus pandemic, believed to have originated from a Chinese one, wreaks havoc across the globe.
Friends of Animals says it has sent letters to the heads of the World Health Organization and the United Nations urging their member countries to close the unsanitary businesses, while PETA is drawing attention to the issue through the release of a new video purportedly showing flies crawling over the flesh of a snake and potential cross-contamination happening at markets in Indonesia and Thailand.
“The next pandemic will be right around the corner as long as sick and stressed animals are crowded together in blood-soaked meat markets,” PETA’s President, Ingrid Newkirk, said in a statement.
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Wet markets sell fresh meat, fish, produce and an array of exotic animals. But experts have warned that because the animals are kept close together and are killed on-site to guarantee freshness – the markets run a risk of becoming a breeding ground for new viruses.
“It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we just don’t shut it down,” White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci told ‘Fox & Friends’ last week. “I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that.”
And the concern is shared among members of Congress as well.
The office of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News on Wednesday that he will be sending a letter co-signed by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and other colleagues asking for China’s ambassador to the U.S. to pressure his government against reopening wet markets there. That letter comes as the Chinese city of Wuhan – where the coronavirus originated – has lifted its 76-day lockdown.
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Meanwhile, PETA Asia said Tuesday it has been asking health ministers in Indonesia, Thailand and “other Asian countries to close wet markets there, but has yet to receive a response.”
Friends of Animals is going a step further by directing their concerns to WHO and the U.N.
“The ‘wet markets’ of the world have for too long cruelly consumed millions of wild animals, and endangered the health of the entire planet. And for what? So someone could dine on the flesh of an exotic animal?” Priscilla Feral, director of the Connecticut-based group, wrote in a letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Why should civil society tolerate such extreme risks to satisfy self-indulgent decadence?”
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The letter says “given the catastrophic events of recent months, we seek to encourage WHO to become more proactive. We encourage WHO to initiate a vigorous campaign aimed at persuading its member countries to shut down these infamous animal markets.”
In a similar message sent to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week, Feral wrote that “reputable scientists have repeatedly warned of the dangers of pandemics being spawned in these fetid marketplaces.”
But some say closing wet markets would trigger new problems for those who shop at them.
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“Banning wet markets is not only going to be impossible, but will also be destructive for urban food security in China as they play such a pivotal role in ensuring urban residents’ access to affordable and healthy food,” Dr. Zhenzhong Si, a research associate at Canada’s University of Waterloo, told Bloomberg News.
The website reports that as of Wednesday, the Baishazhou wet market in Wuhan is open again with a sign that says “no slaughtering and selling live animals.” The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which is suspected to be ground zero of the coronavirus, remains closed.
Fox News’ Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.
Source : Greg Norman Link